Alliance against road building

Road Block e-bulletin * 18 April 2006

Check out the Road Block website.  There is a new Best Practice page, which showcases excellent examples of local campaigning.  We have also added a Search feature so you can find information easier.  We also have added new briefings on Judicial Reviews and Public Inquiries.


The 2006 Road Block national conference will take place on Saturday 10 June in central Birmingham.  Booking is essential.  Come and learn from one another, share ideas, strategies and inspiration.  Please book your place by emailing or download the booking forms here -


If any weblinks don't work, simply cut and paste them into your address bar.

Next e-bulletin deadline is 18 May, so please send us your campaign news before then.


(1) Transport and climate news – 

National Audit Office investigation;

Highways Agency road budget doubles;

More roads get go-ahead;

Roads and ‘sustainable communities’

Roads stopped!

Decisions ahead

Road Block v Roads Minister

Select Committee inquiry on Local Transport Plans

(2) Campaign updates – 

A303 Stonehenge (Wiltshire)

A628 Mottram - Tintwistle Bypass (Peak District)

Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset)

Heysham - M6 Link (Lancaster Northern Bypass

South Bristol Ring Road

Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke)

Aberdeen Western Bypass

Durham Northern Relief Road

Bexhill to Hastings Relief Road (Sussex)

Titnore Lane (Sussex)

Connecting Derby

M4 relief road across the Gwent Levels

SEMMMS (Manchester)

A391 St Austell Link road (Cornwall)

Brownhills Eastern Bypass (Walsall)

Luton Northern Bypass (M1 - A6)

No Widening M1

A127/A1159 Priory Crescent, Southend (Essex)

Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon)

Hill of Tara

(3) Events

Nature Walk at Swallow's Wood - 23 April -.Peak District

Facing the Flood – 8 May - Edinburgh

Power Up - 19-21 May – Birmingham

Seeds for Change No More Roads & Runways skillshare – 19-21 May - Oxford

Climate Conference – 3 June - London

Road Block national conference – 10 June - Birmingham

Railfuture Campaigners Conference – 1 July – Stoke on Trent

Climate change camp - 26 Aug - 4 Sept – North England


(4) Take Action -



National Audit Office investigation into rising road costs


The National Audit Office has confirmed they are undertaking an investigation into the spiralling cost of the roads programme.  Currently the schemes are increasing an average 42% from when they are first approved to the most current estimate.  This is not only because of the rising cost of construction, but also because it is a well known fact that roadbuilders lie about the cost of their pet projects in order to gain approval.  Road Block will be meeting the NAO shortly to discuss the reasons for the increases.  If you have hard evidence of reasons for rising costs for your road, please get in touch with the Road Block office.


Highways Agency roadbuilding budget almost doubles in one year


Buried deep in the recently published 2006/7 Highways Agency Business Plan was the revelation that their road building budget had almost doubled in just one year.  In 2005/6 they had £589 million for roadbuilding, and this financial year it leapt up to £1046 million!  They have stolen money from the traffic management and technology improvements budgets (all the things they are supposed to be directing the money towards, rather than more road building).  They were roundly criticised for this by the National Audit Office in 2004.,,174-1375601,00.html


Government giving go-ahead to more roadbuilding


During March and April a number of massive road schemes were depressingly given the go-ahead. The A419 Blunsdon Bypass in Gloucestershire went ahead despite a 124% cost increase since it was first approved, and it will increase pressure for more roadbuilding in the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Also the M6 extension up to Carlisle was given the go-ahead, despite the costs having gone up 280%.  Ironically the day after the Climate Change Programme Review revealed how the government was failing to get CO2 emissions down, it wasn’t hard to see why as they gave the go-ahead to the £209 million traffic generating Mersey Gateway road bridge.  Then the government approved a huge cost increase for the controversial High and Low Newton Bypass which goes through the Lake District National Park (see report below).  A number of smaller local schemes were given the go-ahead including the Tunstall Northern Bypass (see also below).  See all the Road Block press releases here



Roadbuilding won’t create ‘sustainable communities’


On 12 April the government also announced that over 80% of the Community Infrastructure Fund (a pot of cash for transport for Prescott’s new “Sustainable Communities” housing development) would go towards yet more roads, with less than 20% going to public transport , cycling or walking.  Labour peer, Lord Berkeley has tabled a Parliamentary Question about this unfair split.  Road Block said this would lead to more car based sprawl, traffic growth and CO2 emissions increases.



Roads disappearing – reasons to be cheerful!


It’s not all bad though, as Road Block is starting to hear of a number of schemes being quietly dropped, as we are starting to see the first effects of the Regional Funding Allocation (where the regions had to decide their 10 year transport priorities).  Schemes that were not prioritised are very unlikely to get government funding.  A few local road schemes have been shelved as the councils realise government cash won't come for the next 10 years. Several Highways Agency schemes that were not prioritised have also disappeared from the programme, including A64 Rillington Bypass; A30 Carland to Chiverton Cross; A30 Temple to Higher Carblake Improvement; A483 Pant-Llanymynech Bypass; Adderstone to Belford Dualling; A1 Morpeth to Felton Dualling.


Decisions ahead!


Announcements on the Regional Funding Allocations (see RB bulletin 11 Feb 06) and decisions on provisional approval of 12 new roads will be announced shortly after the 4 May local elections.  Also the government will be deciding on full approval and cost increases for others.  These announcements will be a real test of the government’s commitment to reduce traffic.  Look out for decisions on Lancaster, Brownhills, Southend, and Derby.


Road Block v the Roads Minister


When Roads Minister Stephen Ladyman dared question the Road Block coordinator in a media interview about whether the M1 widening would increase traffic and cost over £3 billion he received a stinging reply.  It was pointed out to him that the eye watering £3.7 billion cost of the M1 widening came from a Parliamentary Question HE had answered on 19 Dec 2005!  He also insisted that traffic growth is essential to keep the economy growing.  After several groans of despair Road Block firstly pointed him to the wealth of evidence from his own Department showing that roadbuilding creates more traffic (SACTRA report) and that economic growth and traffic growth are not mutually dependent (White Paper and Transport Trends), and then suggested he get reading!  Astonishingly Road Block received a reply to the letter, in which he insisted that roadbuilding eases congestion.  Read the correspondence here:


Transport Select Committee inquiry into Local Transport Plans

If you want to put in evidence on roads in Local Transport Plans (LTPs), the deadline is 26 April.  See



A303 Stonehenge (Wiltshire) – URGENT


The deadline for objections to the current options review is 24 April.  Please go to , click on the online questionnaire, and tick the ‘Do Nothing’ box to ensure the ‘no road’ vote is registered, and call for the A344 to be closed instead to recognise the importance of this World Heritage Site.  Pretty much every environment and heritage group you care to mention has condemned the Highways Agency’s review of options to widen the A303 at Stonehenge. The British Council for Archaeology, CPRE, Friends of the Earth, National Trust, Transport 2000 and the Wiltshire Archaeology and Natural History Society are among groups that have joined forces to oppose all five options in the review (see RB Bulletin 11 Feb). This fiasco has cost £23 million since 2000 alone.



A628 Mottram - Tintwistle Bypass (Peak District) - URGENT

The deadline for Objections to the Line Orders is 5 May.  You can quickly do so here:

Writing in to object will only take 5 minutes and does not commit you to appearing at the public inquiry, which should take place in the Autumn.  Excitingly the Peak District National Park Authority has reversed its previous position, and is now objecting to the road, as it would damage the park.

More information is on the website . 


Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset) - URGENT


Urgent representations will be required soon to prevent the road being re-inserted back into the Local Plan (see RB bulletin 11 Feb). 

Keep an eye on for links to a quick email action – deadline 17 May.  Dorset County Council has convinced West Dorset District Council to reject a planning inspector’s advice that the road should be scrapped. The Countryside Agency, to name just one, continues to object to the scheme – one of the most destructive in the roads programme – as it is government policy not to build roads in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  Let’s make sure that the government is held to this.  Meanwhile a committee of MPs – the Transport Select Committee – confirmed that the road was never needed for the sailing part of the 2012 Olympics, and was never included in London’s bid.  Dorset council and Jim Knight MP have been lying to local people by saying the road is needed for the Games.



Heysham - M6 Link (Lancaster Northern Bypass)


In a dramatic step, the Government Office for the North West (GONW) has issued an Article 14 direction blocking Lancashire County Council (LCC) from granting itself planning permission.  This could mean a ‘call-in’ and full public inquiry.  GONW says it is because of the many representations made to it. This scheme has run into massive opposition, with major objections from the Environment Agency, English Heritage and the local MP Geraldine Smith, together with over 500 other objections.  The objections have forced LCC to delay the hearing of the planning application until Summer.  Local group Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe, who favour alternatives to road-building, have commissioned a leading transport planning expert to analyse the case for the road. His report has just been sent to Alistair Darling, and his top level civil servants, ahead of a decision expected in May.  If you haven’t already please object to the scheme here .  More info on the marvellous TSLM group is here and please check the superb Alternative Solutions part of the website here  which is a brilliant resource for all groups.


High and Low Newton Bypass (Lake District National Park)


On 11 April, the government confirmed they were prepared to fund a massive cost increase for this controversial road through the Lake District National Park.  The road had been approved at £22 million, and is now going ahead at £35 million.


South Bristol Ring Road


Friends of the Earth have dramatically warned Bristol City Council that their Local Transport could be illegal as it has not had a Strategic Environmental Assessment with the road included.  Local campaigners from the newly formed Alliance Against the South Bristol Ring Road have handed a 2,170-signature petition to Bristol City Council, condemning what is in effect a mini-M25 south of Bristol. There has been no effort to consult on the plans, which were a surprise addition to the list of regional transport priorities published in the autumn.


Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke)


Unfortunately this road was one of a handful the DfT have been quietly approving recently.  The road has been given Conditional Approval while the council attempt to find a contractor willing to take it on.


Aberdeen Western Bypass


The corridor for the Southern section of the route will be narrowed later in April. It is expected that this move will mean the deletion of several options currently on the map, leaving us with a better idea of where the road will be when it comes to publication of the Draft Orders in December.  An independent Scottish parliament ePetition against the road is now up and ready for you to sign at the link below until 31 May. Please sign and help the campaign against the Aberdeen Bypass.

For the campaign against the road see and


Durham Northern Relief Road

The Durham Northern Relief Road has now been dropped from the final version of the Local Transport Plan. However, the road is still a genuine threat in Durham County Council's study of road pricing options for a possible bid to the Transport Innovation Fund. It is hard to see how any scheme that makes
Durham an island of charging on its own can ever be locally acceptable. Congestion is rarely a problem in the North East and a growing feeling is that the Council has done far too little to explore genuinely innovative demand management schemes short of road building and road charging.  See


Bexhill to Hastings Relief Road (Sussex)


Roads Minister Stephen Ladyman showed his ignorance again when he travelled down to Hastings and said the scheme would be approved this year, with work starting next year.  Actually a planning application is expected at the end of this year, with a public inquiry next year.  He can’t wait to get the bulldozers trashing Combe Haven SSSI nature reserve.  Late last year he appeared on ‘Top Gear’ and talked about his speeding convictions.



Titnore Lane (Sussex)

Worthing Borough Council granted permission for over 200 hundred trees in ancient Titnore wood to be felled for a housing development and access road.  Furious local campaigners from Protect Our Woodland have agreed to mount a legal challenge.


Connecting Derby


The Derby Heart group have discovered that Government Office East Midlands (GOEM) have deliberately not informed them that they have rejected calls for the scheme to be ‘called in’ for a full public inquiry, despite hundreds of letters.  They have also discovered that the DfT are considering whether to give the go-ahead based on dodgy old appraisal that has not been consulted on.  If the DfT give the go-ahead in May, they may leave themselves open to legal challenge.



M4 relief road across the Gwent Levels

Campaign Against the Levels Motorway (CALM) is still pressing the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) for more details on the proposed route.  To date only a map of the protected corridor has been produced which only gives a general indication of where the road will go.  WAG is also trying to avoid subjecting the proposal to a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on the grounds that it is an existing, not a new scheme.  CALM has asked WAG to carry out an SEA and the other procedural items that should be followed.  In addition CALM has challenged the lack of a specific commitment from the Assembly Members to the road.


SEMMMS, M60 - Stockport - Poynton - Manchester Airport - New Relief Road Scheme

If this huge scheme is approved by the Government (decision expected in May), then these three roads costing £432 million are expected to be mostly funded by Private Finance Initiative.  For some strange reason, new lamp posts for
Stockport unrelated to the road scheme and maintenance of the A34 are being included in the PFI, which would bring the total up to a staggering £556 million.   Merely to work out how to fund this road scheme by PFI is expected to cost £2 million.  If there are cost overruns, which seem very likely, maybe Stockport council will be bankrupted to pay PFI interest to foreign banks and shareholders.


A391 St Austell Link road (Cornwall)


Although the A30-A391 Link road was not considered a priority by the South West Regional Assembly, an application for planning permission is to be presented to Cornwall County Council on 24 May.  People Against the A391 Link (PAAL) have informed the media that even more money is being wasted on a scheme which has no future until 2016, and will only blight properties along the proposed route.  An incinerator is planned for the area, and PAAL fear that this will be used as a lever to gain funding for an access road.  We have printed 1000 leaflets and distributed them locally in an effort to jolt people into action.


Brownhills Eastern Bypass (Walsall)


Stonnal Campaign Against Roads (SCAR) is now a limited company. SCAR have heard good news via their MP that the DfT has said it will not consider funding until Walsall council works out an agreed preferred route for the bypass with Staffordshire County Council and Lichfield District Council.  Both councils have come out against the proposal to build the bypass in Staffordshire Green Belt.  However SCAR refuses to be complacent. 



Luton Northern Bypass (M1 - A6)
South Beds and Luton Friends of the Earth are getting in early with their campaign to stop this road that could damage an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, SSSIs, ancient woods and wildlife sites.  The FoE groups are insisting that a public transport alternative is assessed as well as the road at the earliest stages, just as the government guidance says should happen.  If any other groups are at this early stage, please get in touch to discuss tactics to ensure they follow the guidance.
No Widening M1

Things have got very busy along the M1, with work starting on the
Luton junction 6a-10 stretch, and a massive consultation underway on the £1.9 billion Leicester to Chesterfield (via Nottingham) junction 21-30 stretch.  The consultation exhibitions have been leafleted, with a positive response from the public, and a negative response from the Highways Agency!  You can fill in the questionnaire online and say no to road building.
Sheffield No Widening M1 are having a public meeting on 18 May in Sheffield.  Speakers include Tony Bosworth from Friends of the Earth and Becca Lush of Road Block.  Hopefully a Doncaster No Widening M1 group will be launched soon.   To get more involved see   or phone 07759 851073

A127/A1159 Priory Crescent, Southend (Essex) 

The Parklife group have been to see the local MP, who has tabled a Parliamentary Question on their behalf about the potential cost of evicting the protest camp.  Answers are expected next week.  The camp was set up in September 2005 by local residents, and has a thriving population who have sat out the winter, and are determined to stay until this road is cancelled. They welcome visitors.  The government are just about to decide whether to approve a huge price increase (from £3.5 million in 2000, to £21 million in 2005).  See , or call .


Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon)


What a difference 200 metres makes. Parish councillor Paul Bright, who lives within 100 metres of the planned road, was savaged by his local standards board on the say-so of the Standards Board for England (see RB Bulletin 16 Dec, 2005), while fellow councillor Mike Haines, who lives about 300 metres away, has had a complaint against him dismissed. Mr Bright is a vocal opponent of the bypass. Mr Haines is a supporter, who, with his district councillor’s hat on, also chairs the planning committee at Teignbridge District Council, one of the three local authorities backing the scheme…. and it’s Teignbridge District Council which administers the area’s local standards board. Double Standards Board for England


Hill of Tara

Campaigners in
Ireland have recently lost a battle in their High Court to prevent a new motorway passing less than a mile from the Hill of Tara's central sacred complex, one of the most archaeologically important sites in Europe.  For more details see and



Nature Walk around Swallow's Wood on 23 April. Campaigners against the Mottram-Tintwistle Bypass are leading a short walk around the nature reserve. Meet on
Crossgates Lane, Tintwistle at 2pm. Contact Emma on 0854 226 3392 or e-mail  for details.


Facing the Flood, conference on transport and climate change in Edinburgh on 8 May.  Organised by TRANSform Scotland.  See


Power Up is a Friends of the Earth's Community Rights & Justice residential weekend on 19-21 May in Birmingham. Come and learn how to use the planning system, and the Freedom of Information laws, be inspired to take action, make a difference in your community.  And it only costs £60 for the whole weekend.  For info, email and see


A Skill Sharing event is being organised by Seeds for Change, a training organisation for groups opposing roads and airport expansion.  For more info contact Seeds for Change
, email and see


Climate Conference is organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change on 3 June in London.  See

The 2006 Road Block national conference must not be missed!  Gain skills, knowledge and inspiration and meet other campaigners.  Starts
11am on 10 June in central Birmingham.  Booking essential.  Email  or download the booking form here


Railfuture Campaigners Conference on 1 July in Stoke-on-Trent. 



A huge camp for action around climate change is being planned for the North of England from 26 Aug to 4 Sept.  See and email if you want to get involved in working groups.



URGENT: Respond to the Stonehenge options review – deadline 24 April.  Demand ‘No Road’ and instead lobby for the closure of the A344 near the stones.  You can fill in the online questionnaire via this website:


Object to the Mottram Tintwistle Bypass draft Orders - Draft Orders have been published for the horrific Mottram Tintwistle Bypass through the Peak District (see above), despite there being excellent alternatives.  Please write an Objection letter.

Click here to find out what to write and where to send it.


Object to the Heysham M6 Link (Lancaster) Planning Application -